I love a stately entrance to a hotel…after all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. The historic Dearborn Inn (1931) in exudes elegance. Driving through the wrought-iron gate up the circular drive to the hotel’s impressive façade, I felt transported…as if I were a guest at someone’s peaceful country estate (no easy feat considering the urban area of Dearborn, Michigan).
The welcoming staff gave us directions to our concierge-level room. As we passed posters and photographs of vintage automobiles, I was reminded that the hotel was the brainchild of automobile magnate, Henry Ford. Our classically-decorated room held a spacious desk, a nice chair and ottoman, and a comfortable bed. I hadn’t even finished unpacking when room service knocked on the door. To my delight, they delivered iced water and tasty snacks. We were there on a weekend, but during the week concierge guests have access to a lounge with various goodies.
When traveling, it is important to me to stay at places that have inviting public spaces; I like to have room to sprawl out. The Dearborn Inn fit the bill. The spacious, elegant lobby had plenty of places to curl up and relax. As hot apple cider was provided, I couldn’t resist sipping it by the fire while my husband chose to read the paper in the sunroom. The sunroom led out to a charming patio and expansive grounds to explore.
The hotel is less than a mile from the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. History enthusiasts will find both places “can’t-miss” sites. Greenfield Village takes one back in time. You can ride in a Model T, a horse-led omnibus, or other vintage vehicles throughout the 80-acre complex. With 83 authentic, historic structures to explore, guests can see a printer at work, visit the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, explore Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, or watch artisans blow glass. Interactive attractions engage visitors and allow them to delve into 300 years of American life. The Henry Ford Museum holds important pieces of America’s past including the car in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated, George Washington’s camp bed, trains, planes, and automobiles. The hotel is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Detroit attractions. Although not a true Detroit hotel, the Dearborn Inn is close to the city via easy access to the highway.
After a busy day of sightseeing (see Detroit Renaissance), we decided to have a night-cap at the Ten Eyck Lounge (one of two restaurants). Our bartender made us feel very welcome. I noticed that she had just the right touch with the customers surrounding us—she sensed when to chat more with a guest and when to leave them to their own conversations. We asked her about the hotel’s history and what it was like to work there. With obvious pride in the establishment, she enthusiastically shared the hotel’s past. She also advised us on historical sites to see. I love it when hotel staff want to share tidbits about their area, an engaged staff is a hallmark of a good establishment.
Guests of the Dearborn Inn will find themselves in good company. Throughout the years, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orville Wright, Charles Lindbergh, Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney, Jesse Owens, Norman Rockwell, and many other noted individuals have visited the inn. The hotel itself is notable in that it was the world’s first airport hotel. Henry Ford had Albert Kahn design the Georgian-style inn to serve the Ford Airport (closed in 1933). The inn was further enhanced in 1937 when five historic replica homes were added to the grounds. Representing the homes of Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Barbara Fritchie, Oliver Wolcott, and Patrick Henry, the homes offer guests another charming place to stay. I enjoyed strolling the lanes observing each home’s architectural details.
Although the hotel is historic, great care has been taken to make sure it offers the modern comforts that today’s travelers desire. With its ties to the past and location near historical sites, the Dearborn Inn provided a comfortable stay for me.
Disclosure: I received a reduced rate when staying at the Dearborn Inn. However, all views and opinions expressed in this blog are always my own.
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